Our approach for a safe return to our schools and offices across the world
The COVID-19 global pandemic has continued to reshape our lives as a global community. We know that it has been a very different and unsettling time for everyone as we all had to transition to a new way of life. These exceptional circumstances have been a huge change for all of our staff, students and their families across the International Schools Partnership (ISP).
Despite the temporary closure of our school buildings and offices across the world, learning and working carried on at home. Our highly experienced Learning & Education professionals established an effective distance learning strategy which included a broad range of supportive materials and resources. These were designed to ensure consistency of learning, whilst schools transitioned to a distance learning model and continued to get better over time.
The resilience of our professional, passionate teachers and their commitment to keep on learning during this time has been simply incredible. Together, with a tremendous amount of support from other colleagues across the group, our children and students have been able to successfully continue their learning from home. In fact, students and parents in all 12 countries across the group have fed back about their many positive experiences of our distance learning approaches and have consistently said they are getting better through distance learning.
Our parents and families have also been instrumental to this success. We are grateful to all of our families for their support and hard work. We are one global community at ISP, and this has been further demonstrated during these uncertain times as we all came together, supported each other, and made learning and working from home possible.
As lockdown restrictions have begun to ease around the world, we, as a group have spent a lot of time carefully planning and preparing in line with national and local government guidelines, for a gradual return to our schools and offices. We set up a central team, covering Health & Safety, Safeguarding, Communications, HR and Learning to provide guidance and protocols for our schools and regional offices to advise and guide on reopening. The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is our top priority and we want to ensure our staff, students and families feel confident coming back to school and work, knowing that we, both as a group and as individual schools have adequately prepared to ensure that learning and working can continue within a safe environment for all. As a global group of schools there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and each of our schools and offices have followed and will continue to follow a phased reopening in line with government guidance and within their local context.
All school/office openings will:
- Follow local and national government regulations and restrictions.
- Put health, safety and wellbeing of the school and office communities at the centre of every decision.
- Adapt individual educational offerings to specific circumstances in a way that maximises learning, minimises disruption, resonates with parents and protects the school´s financial health.
- Mitigate the management of risk associated with reopening, providing support and guidance to reassure Principals, Heads and Directors of the key actions and steps.
- Prepare, uphold and submit formal plans for reopening.
Our minimum Health, Safety and Safeguarding standards include:
- Temperature checks on arrival to school
- Social distancing managed according to local/government guidance
- Appropriate PPE available to staff in school
- Sufficient hand sanitiser available
- Removal or disablement of entry systems that require skin contact
- A stringent process in place to isolate someone with symptoms
- A process in place to manage deliveries
- Ensuring a Designated Safeguarding Lead is always available
- Ensuring a First Aid qualified person is always on site
We put learners and learning at the heart of everything we do, and as part of our approach to reopening, our schools have been planning and looking at the following:
- A period of assessment for learning prior to opening to determine student progression during distance learning.
- Defining priorities of how, when and where learning will be delivered i.e. at school, distance learning, blended learning within the constraints of social distancing.
- Establishing priority subjects and kinds of learning for each age group/stage.
- Defining and adjust learning goals/outcomes.
- Continuously communicating with parents and students about what the priorities of learning are, how they are being planned for, how they are progressing, and any adjustments that need to be made.
We strongly believe that learning in school gives students a holistic, rounded approach to their learning that includes crucial experiences for life such as social interaction and other life skills vital to a student’s learning journey. Therefore, we are thrilled that some of our children and students have either already returned or are about to return to classroom learning in different countries across the group. The carefully organised return to these schools has allowed our children and students the opportunity to once again be together in a safe environment and enjoy the benefits from the social and life skills they develop when at school with other students and teachers. Our schools in the Middle East are preparing to return to classroom learning. The video below from some of our schools in the Middle East shows their school communities talking about their preparations for a safe return to school, and how much they are looking forward to seeing each other and learning in school once again.
We are committed to working with our community to create practical learning resources to support both face to face and distance models – a blended learning approach to assist our gradual return to classroom learning. In doing so, we continue our commitment to learning continuously, getting better and ensuring the most effective, engaging and equitable learning experiences for our students and their families.
Steve Brown, Group Chief Executive Officer at the International Schools Partnership, comments:
“With the health and safety of our students and staff as our top priority, we have spent a lot of time carefully planning and preparing for a return to our 46 schools around the world. In line with national government guidelines, I’m delighted that children and students have already started to go back into classrooms in countries like Spain, Malaysia and the UK.
I would also like to reinforce my thanks to our teachers for their adaptability and commitment during these uncertain times, with a tremendous amount of support from other colleagues across the group, our children and students were able to successfully continue their learning from home.
Of course, our parents and families have also been instrumental to this success. Parents and children alike have had to adapt and support each other in ways they might not have had to before. I would like to take this time to thank each and every one of our families for their support and hard work – you are an integral part of our global community.
We have learned so much during the past four months and we won’t miss the opportunity to incorporate this new learning as we go forward and continue to gradually reopen our schools.”
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